COVINGTON, Ga. — Construction on a new east Newton County fire station will begin this month after the Board of Commissioners approved a contract for the project Tuesday, March 2.
Commissioners unanimously voted to approve Sunbelt Builders and its $2.65 million bid for construction of the station at 1200 County Hwy. 213.
Completion of the 9,150-square-foot Station No. 4 is planned by April 2022, according to the contract terms.
“That fills a significant hole in fire coverage for districts 1 and 5 and boosts the overall coverage for the county,” said District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards on his Facebook page.
Covington-based Sunbelt agreed to pay the county $1,500 per day if construction goes past April 1, 2022, the contract stated.
Fire Station No. 4 will include three apparatus bays, a cascade room, decontamination area and firefighter living space.
Sunbelt has built a number of private and publicly funded projects in metro Atlanta. Its local work has included a Newton County government maintenance facility; a fire station for the city of Social Circle; and restoration of the Lula Building in downtown Covington.
The project, valued at a total $2,652,155, was proposed to provide more fire safety coverage and help lower insurance premiums for area residents by reducing firefighter response times.
The Board first discussed the project in January 2020 after commissioners heard that residents’ insurance premiums were increasing due to the Insurance Services Office (ISO) determining some residents on the county’s east side did not live within five road miles of a fire station.
They then voted to move forward with construction of Fire Station No. 4 on Feb. 4, 2020, and approved the purchase of land on Hwy. 213 on July 21.
The five-acre site was formerly part of a larger tract that fronted on both Big Woods Road and Hwy. 213 in the Starrsville community.
In January of this year, a majority of commissioners approved a month-long delay in approving bond financing for the station in an effort to seek support for county financing of projects in their districts.
They later voted to issue $5 million in bonds to finance the construction and equip the station. Repayment will come from proceeds of a county fire tax, officials said.
In other action March 2, the Board voted to approve:
• A total $52,693 purchase of right of way and easements for construction of a roundabout intersection at Kirkland and Jack Neely road; and for bridge replacement projects for Brown Bridge Road’s crossing of the Yellow River and Snapping Shoals Creek.
Funding will come from the Federal Highway Administration and the 2017 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
• Support for allowing the builder of a speculative warehouse on Industrial Park Boulevard in the Covington/Newton County Industrial Park to use an exterior design that differs from design standards established in 1984 for the park.
The builder is planning a 200,000-square-foot warehouse with a painted concrete façade on a site near Harland Drive and General Mills, said Serra Hall of the Newton County Industrial Development Authority.
• A request to use a corner of the roof of the Judge Horace Johnson Jr. Judicial Building for launching fireworks for the city of Covington’s July 4 fireworks show.